After 18 years running the popular Pier One Restaurant in Sidney, Kostas and Dafni Zobolas are ready to retire.
“It was really perfect timing,” explained Kostas, who said that the two had been thinking about retiring when an offer came in to take over the restaurant’s space.
“It’s wonderful because we will be able to go to Greece now for our daughter’s wedding,” he said, laughing that the couple purchased their plane tickets the day after they sold the restaurant.
The husband and wife team and their roster of close-knit staff have evidently touched the hearts of many people throughout their years in business.
“People who have heard about us retiring have come in and they hug me and they cry. Of course we have mixed feelings about leaving the business and all the amazing people we see every day but we’re staying in Sidney once we return from our vacation to Greece and we’ll stay in touch with everyone,” said Dafni.
Reflecting on their years of owning the Greek restaurant, Dafni said the personal connection they held with their customers is what kept them going.
“These people become like family,” she explained.
“They come here into our restaurant and we treat them like family. There were people we would deliver special meals to, seniors we’d call to check in on if we didn’t see them for a few days, Kostas would even drive people home if a taxi was taking too long to come. This is a close knit community,” Dafni said.
Father Costas Economas, the Priest at the Greek Orthodox Church in Royal Oak and a family friend of the Zobolas’ said the family can be described with one word.
“Philoxenia, which means the love of hosting or hospitality, that really describes Kostas and Dafni. The two of them embody that word. They treat their customers like family, they treat their staff like family and that’s the most beautiful part is that they’ve made people feel that way,” said Economas.
A letter penned to the two from their staff members attests to their compassion for those around them.
“Dafni and Kostas have worked so hard over the years to make Pier One a warm and loving place and their efforts have definitely paid off,” read the letter. “The evidence of this is in the smiling faces of the returning customers and the enthusiasm of all the staff.”
Through tears, Dafni says she will miss the business.
“We did more than just serve people here,” she said.
“We made connections with people. Our customers were here for us through thick and thin and we were there for them. We want to thank them all for the beautiful memories and years we shared.”
The last day of business for the restaurant will be Saturday, June 21.